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Tina Turner: 10 Great Songs and the Story Behind Them

BBC by Ian Youngs and Emma Sanders

Tina Turner performing at the Gelredome in Arnhem, Netherlands in 2009.
photograph: Getty Images

Tina Turner who died at the age of 83made many classic recordings with a masterful combination of R&B, funk, rock and pop, all performed with her unique raw vocal prowess.

These songs trace her story from her unhappy partnership with first husband Ike to her 1980s comeback courtesy of a British synthpop group.

Here we pick up some of her most popular and most beloved hits.

1. Rivers Are Deep, Mountains Are High (1966)

American singer Tina Turner of The Ike & Tina Turner Revue wears sunglasses and performs on stage during the taping of Associated Rediffusion Television's pop music television show Ready Steady Go! The show was aired on September 30, 1966 on She's ITV.

Tina Turner performing “Ready Steady Go!” at Wembley Television Studios, London, September 1966.

Tina Turner of The Ike & Tina Turner Review wears sunglasses and performs on stage during the taping of Associated Rediffusion Television’s pop music television show “Ready Steady Go!” At Wembley Television Studios, London, September 1966.

Tina found success with Ike in 1960, six years later producer Phil Spector asked her to work with her, and one of pop music’s greatest achievements came her way.

The song was on the duo’s credits, but Spector didn’t want the studio to be controlled by Ike, and Tina was happy to work with someone else.

She was surprised to learn that the producer assembled a full orchestra and choir to create the famous wall of sound. “I’m just a girl from Tennessee who fell in love with Ike and became a singer,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I’ve never seen anything like this outside of the movies.”

The record reached number three in the UK, but failed in the US. Radio DJs “said she wasn’t ‘black’ enough to be rhythm & blues, and she wasn’t white enough to be ‘pop’,” she says.

2. Proud Mary (1971)

After the song became a hit for the Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969, Ike and Tina transformed the laid-back country-rock vibe into an explosive, epic funk anthem of freedom.

Beginning with her sensual narrative and then coming to life with her exuberant vocals, the song left a lasting impression on American music fans. It reached #4 on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy Award.

It was the song Beyoncé chose to perform when she paid tribute to Tina at the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors. Three years later, they teamed up to sing the song as a duet at the Grammy Awards.

3. Nutbush City Boundaries (1973)

Church House, Jin House/School House, Out House– Tina famously immortalized her hometown of Tennessee with these lyrics.

This hilarious song was a fond memory of a confused childhood when she spent some time picking cotton. ”You go to the fields on weekdays / Have a picnic on Labor Day. ”

Three years later, Tina leaves Ike after years of abuse and jeopardizing her career.

4. Let’s Stay Together (1983)

Tina had to start over and get back on her feet as a solo artist. The pivotal moment of that comeback, which would lead to her even greater success than before, came when she met two members of British electropop group Heaven 17.

Martin Ware and Glenn Gregory were looking for the last singer to do an album of cover versions for a British Electric Foundation project, but Tina didn’t have a record deal.

When she entered Abbey Road Studios, there were no other musicians there. “Where’s the band?” she asked, expecting a Phil Spector-esque orchestra. Instead, the music was created by synthesizers.

They recorded first the Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion” and then Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, which became her first UK Top 10 hit in ten years. .

5. What’s Love Got To Do With It (1984)

She cemented her status as a solo star with this song, written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle. The song had already been offered to Sir Cliff Richard, Donna Summer and Bucks Fizz. Tina didn’t like her either, she said she was too light and pop at first.

But she agreed to record it – if she could do it her way, “with force, gravity and raw emotion.” It worked, and her sexy, rebellious performances and music videos of her striding the streets of New York City in denim and black leather earned Turner her only No. won record of the year.

Also, her oldest woman (at the time) had a number one single in the United States at age 44.

6. Private Dancer (1984)

The best-selling album’s title track was written by the band’s frontman Mark Knopfler and originally recorded by Dire Straits. However, he decided it was not suitable for male vocals. Tina later said in an interview that he didn’t know the song was about sex workers.

“I never had to give in to that in my life,” she wrote in her autobiography. “But I think most of us have been in a situation where we had to sell ourselves in some way.

“When I gave in to Ike, when I kept quiet to avoid an argument, when I stayed with Ike even though I wanted to leave, that’s what I was thinking when I sang this song. , the sadness of doing something you don’t want to do.It’s something you do every day.It’s very emotional.”

The song features Jeff Beck on guitar, and the video was shot at London’s Rivoli Ballroom and choreographed by former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips.

American R&B and pop singer Tina Turner on stage at the World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois on June 28, 1997 (Photo Credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Tina Turner on stage at the World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois, 1997.
photograph: Getty Images

7. I Don’t Need Another Hero (1985)

Another song written by Britten and Lyle, this song, including Tina herself, appeared in Mel Gibson’s film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

A classic ’80s power ballad, the lyrics match the devastation of the film’s post-apocalyptic world. Turner starred in the music video as her own character, Anti Entity, and said she resonated with her because she was “strong and resilient.”

“She lost a lot but then went through so much to make the men in her world look up to her,” Tina said. “I went through her struggles, so she sympathized with her struggles.”

The song was another hit, reaching No. 2 in the US, being nominated for a Grammy Award, and winning an Ivor Novello Award.

8. The Best (1989)

The song was originally written for Bonnie Tyler, but was only a minor hit for the Welsh singer in 1988.

The following year, Tina added more vocal strength and added new soft rock productions. And it became her one of her signature songs and her one of the anthems that marked this decade.

The song is often erroneously called “Simply the Best” due to its famous chorus line. It has been featured in numerous commercials over the years, including a Pepsi ad featuring Turner himself. It was also used to advertise Australian rugby league.

9. Sultry Window (1989)

It also appeared on Turner’s 1989 album Foreign Affairs, and the lyrics of this steamy, bluesy track left listeners with little question as to what was going on in the backseat.

Another empowering feminist song by Turner, it was about taking control in sexual encounters. Music Week at the time described the song as a “fun and racy number” featuring a “naughty guitar run”.

The single was featured in a surprise interview with Emma Watson on ITV’s Lorraine a few years ago when the A-list actress’ phone rang and the ringtone was … sultry Windows. I am a real Tina fan.

10. Goldeneye (1995)

The James Bond theme is a milestone for any artist. Following the success of Tina’s Oscar-nominated 1993 biopic What About Love?, Bond producers asked Tina to make Pierce Brosnan’s 007 debut.

The GoldenEye theme itself was written by U2’s Bono and The Edge. The frontman gave her something of a demo, but she had a lot of work to do.

She told the BBC in 2018, “He didn’t do a proper demo. Someone just put the music together.” “I thought, ‘How am I going to put this together? It didn’t give me what his melody was, so I said,'” I made it as close to the melody as I had in mind.

“I had to work really hard. That’s when I knew I could sing whatever was in front of me.”

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/490607/tina-turner-10-simply-the-best-songs-and-the-stories-behind-them Tina Turner: 10 Great Songs and the Story Behind Them

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